When Apple closes a door, Apple opens a window. Good news iOS cryptocurrency users, after recently removing the ShapeShift App and restricting support to only Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Doge, Ripple or The DAO, the firm is now allowing Bitcoin payments in its ecosystem.
Apple has approved Circle for iMessage, which enables devices using iOS 10 to send and receive social and personal payments without fees directly within Apple’s iMessage. The feature supports dollars, euro, pound sterling and bitcoin, and can fund payments and cash out using almost any bank in the US and the UK. Circle additionally promises that support for European banks is coming soon.
If you are using Android and someone sends you a payment via iMessage, you will receive a URL to cash out, send your own payments, or install the Circle app for Android. As for users outside of markets in which Circle currently supports local currency, they will receive bitcoin, and can cash out to their local bank account and currency using a regional bitcoin exchange.
Catching up to China
In June Circle announced that it raised $60 million of new capital from a group of strategic Chinese investors and launched Circle China, a Beijing-based venture focused on making it a major player in the Chinese payments market.
It now explains that the West is backward compared to messaging digital cash in China, where companies like Tencent and Alipay serve as a ubiquitous platform. This integration with iMessage is meant to bring the rest of the world up to speed.
Circle promises that it is continually working on adding new markets and currencies, including its previously announced effort to bring the Chinese yuan (RMB) into Circle’s service.